We use the AR program. The English Department preferred just assigning outside
reading but when they were cut down to 1 rather than 2 preps, they found they
didn’t have the time for the student book conferences. So we adopted the AR as
a second choice. It does a decent job but here are the drawbacks that I’ve
1) They are much better at including books in their system for k – 8 but
they are thinner on high school books. They also lean heavily – like the
publishing world in general in books that have female protagonists and they are
thin on books for boys. Since I work at an all boys 9-12, this is an issue.
So light on sports books and sci fi.
2) Their point system is often kooky and you will be left scratching your
head. A difficult and weighty book will often have a lighter score and a
lighter, longer book might have a larger score. I get the impression they
have few librarians on their staff. They are open to hearing from you and a
co-worker of mine used to call with suggestions and complaints all the time.
They handled it well.
3) You will have to have someone “manage” the account, and it will
probably be you, so teachers will occasionally send students to me to have
their accounts “unlocked” or cleared so they can take the tests. Why and how
they get locked I do not know but it is easy to clear them.
On the Pro side:
1) It will free your teachers up from listening to book conferences.
2) Students will come in and ask for a 14 point book or a 10 point book
rather than a sports book or a good book or a mystery…so I tell them I don’t
think in terms of books and points and I do the “Interview” anyway and find one
that they will like that happens to be in the point range. With that in mind I
have created a LibGuide just for AR books to help the kids find them.
3) Your outside reading will increase and this will help your stats.
4) You will have to think about writing “AR Points…” onto your book
pockets so students can see when they open the book if it is in AR. You will
have to make an initial investment into acquiring AR books so there will be
enough in your collection for the kids to find. As stated earlier not all
books are in AR, though they add more all the time.
5) Make sure you can get your teachers to agree to the occasional book not
in AR for the students to read, otherwise you are then held hostage to the “I
need a 14 point book” cage rather than a book the student is really interested
in and might hook him on reading. I find if it is just the occasional book
teachers are happy to make the time for 1 or 2 but can’t for 32.
6) The English Department made the decision to go AR, and it comes out of
their budget. I add the information to my cataloging and the individual book
I am not a fan of forced reading of material chosen by point/lexile. I prefer
interest and driven by fun or curiosity. But choosing AR or something similar
is preferable to getting rid of the outside reading altogether. I still have
students fall in love with reading with AR books you just still will have to
tailor their selection to your audience.
I hope that helps. If I can answer any other questions please let me know.
De La Salle High School
From: baisl-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:baisl-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Judy Cha
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 8:18 PM
Subject: [baisl] Scholastic Reading Counts or AR
I need some feedback regarding implementing Scholastic Reading Counts or AR,
something the principal at my school wants me to do.
I feel that my heart is not in a program such as this, where students read
lexiled books and take quizzes to incentivize them to read. To me, it feels
kind of forced.
Do any of your school librarians use Scholastic Reading Counts or AR? Can you
give me the pros and cons?
If you don't use these programs, can you provide feedback as to how your school
library may otherwise motivate kids to read? Through another program, or other
I would appreciate prompt feedback, as I'm supposed to meet a deadline to
implement this program, and would like to gather as much information as
possible about whether it is truly beneficial.